12 Simple DIY Leather Craft Tools and Ideas You Need To Try
Modified: May 19, 2022
Practice your DIY skills with a beautiful leather craft that doesn't hurt to make. Try these 12 simple leather crafts and make your next DIY masterpiece!
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Are you on the hunt for a new hobby? Do you think you’re ready to level up after mastering the art of popsicle stick crafts? If you think so, put your DIY skills to the test with a leather craft! Leatherworking is one of the handiest skills to have in the DIY game because leather is incredibly versatile. There’s always a leather version of something that adds effortless style to functionality. So, if you’re interested in adding leather crafts to your art station, keep on reading! In this article, you’ll learn the basics of leatherworking and the simple leather crafts you can do at home by yourself or with your family.
Why You Should Try Leather Crafts
So, why should you try leather crafts? Well, why not! As a DIY person or craftsman, you view each material with potential, and the one with the most potential is leather. Leather is highly adaptable, easy to handle, durable, and most importantly, cheap!
A simple slab of leather paired with a little needle and thread can unlock a sea of possibilities. You can make the most practical items and the most intricate leather ornaments. With the basic techniques of leatherworking, you can create bags, books, footwear, clothing, and even furniture. So, if you’re looking to broaden your DIY repertoire, doing leather crafts will not fail to impress.
Leather Craft Tools You Should Have
Here are the tools you should have at your DIY station that will help you create beautiful leather crafts:
The needle and thread are essential leatherworking tools. They’re needed in almost all crafts you can think of, so you’re going to need heavy-duty ones. In leather crafts, you need a thick needle that can pierce through different layers of leather. The thread has to be a waxed string that doesn’t easily break, like the JANYUN Sewing Waxed Cord. This thread set comes in different rustic colors, which you can use to accentuate your leather crafts.
- 8 thread spools
- 8 colors: black, brown, dark gray, light khaki, natural color, dark brown, khaki, and dark khaki
- 150D waxed leather thread
- 264 yards each spool
- Strong and durable
- Has vibrant colors
- Comes in a variety of colors
- High-quality feel
- Wax coating may get scraped off in small needle eyes
- A bit thin for a waxed thread
A round knife is the unofficial symbol for leather crafts. It’s a versatile cutting tool that can give you straight, curved, and clean edges. The Tandy Leather Al Stohlman Round Knife is one of the best beginner round knives that features an ultra-sharp blade to cut leather like butter.
- Professional round knife
- Includes storage case
- Overall dimensions: 12 inches x 0.5 inches x 7 inches
- Made of stainless steel and wood
- Extremely sharp
- Compact and lightweight
- Has a beautiful polished finish
- A bit smaller in person
- Needs constant sharpening
A scratch awl is a leather craft tool with a metal point for marking and punching holes into your material. If you plan on doing heavy stitching on your leather, a scratch awl will make it easier as it can poke the gaps you need, so you’ll have a clean stitch. One of the best scratch awls available now is the Tandy Leather 4-in1 Awl Set. This set offers four different blade options perfect for intricate leather carvings.
- 2 diamond awl blades
- 1 lacing fid blade
- 1 scratch awl blade
- Overall dimensions: 4.1 inches x 1.1 inches x 5.7 inches
- Made of stainless steel and hardwood
- Blades can easily be interchanged
- Has an attractive handle
- Sturdy and durable
- Blades need to be re-sharpened before use
If you don’t want to end up with blunt blades and damaged furniture, equip your craft table with a durable cutting board. If there’s anything you want to splurge on your leather crafts station, it should be on a heavy-duty cutting board. The ZERRO Self-Healing Cutting Mat is the one mat to defeat them all. It has self-healing features that can be considered magic. If not, then its lifetime warranty will do wonders. This cutting mat has two sides with different colors and is available in a variety of sizes, so you’re sure to find the best fit for your desk.
- Self-healing cutting mat
- Double-sided design
- 100% guaranteed lifetime warranty
- Overall dimensions: 17.72 inches x 11.81 inches x 0.12 inches
- Made of 5-layer PVC material
- Thick and heavy material
- Very durable
- Easy to clean
- Accurate measurements
- Effective self-healing feature
- The surface of the mat can be too soft
- Smaller than advertised
A maul mallet is what you call a hammer for leatherworking. It’s used to assist other tools to work through leather material, like stamping and installing rivets. If you want a maul mallet that can handle both light tooling and heavy punching, the AIBER Leather Carving Hammer Mallet is your best option. It is an aesthetically-pleasing hammer, and despite its petite look, this hammer provides the ideal weight for all your leather crafts.
- Nylon hammer
- Anti-slip and skid
- Made of nylon, stainless steel, and wood
- Overall dimensions: 8.3 inches x 1.9 inches
- Sturdy and durable
- Hefty head weight
- Perfect for small tools
- Looks and feels expensive
- Nut at the bottom needs frequent tightening
Pricking irons are chisels used to prick multiple holes or markings on your leather. The WUTA French Style Pricking Iron includes two 3.38mm prongs, which are the most used pricking iron size in leather crafts. Using pricking irons will help you create a tidy stitch on your project. You can also use them to carve equally spaced ornamental markings.
- Obverse-French style pricking irons
- 3.38mm 2-toothed and 8-toothed set
- Made of DC53 Cold-work die steel material
- Overall dimensions: 5.98 inches x 2.28 inches x 1.46 inches
- Entirely polished
- Solid and durable
- Prongs are sharp and precise
- Can be a bit short
An edge beveler is a sharp hand tool that rounds off the corners of your leather for smooth output. It also prevents any damage caused by frayed edges. The Mudder Leather Edge Beveler is an excellent set as it does not only include two edge bevelers but a steel leather knife too! This set is perfect if you’re new to collecting leather craft tools because you already get three tools in one.
- 2 edge bevelers
- 1 leather cutting knife
- Made of steel and wood
- Edge beveler length: 5.5 inches
- Knife length: 6.3 inches
- High-quality feel and look
- Very durable
- Razor-sharp steel
- Polished finish
- Need re-sharpening before use
- The beveler dulls easily
You need an assortment of snaps and rivets ready when you start doing leather crafts. They are the finishing touches that will complete your leather wallet and bag projects. The Caydo 400 Set Snap Fasteners Kit will give you all the options you want for your snap attachments. It features rustic and classic gold, silver, gunmetal, and bronze finishes that perfectly complement all kinds of leather.
- 140 set eyelets and grommets
- 200 set leather rivets
- 40 snap fasteners
- 20 set screws
- 7-piece fixing tools
- Storage organizer
- Leather rivet dimensions: 6 mm x 6 mm and 8 mm x 8 mm
- Grommets diameter: 6 mm
- Grommet cap diameter: 12.5 mm
- Screws length: 6mm and 8 mm
- Made of copper-zinc alloy
- Setting tools included
- Easy to attach
- Offers a variety of snaps and rivets
- Has a gold, silver, and gunmetal finishes
- Not suitable for thick leather
- Screws may be too short
If you don’t have time to check off all the tools in this list, don’t worry! There are a lot of leather craft tool kits available now that will save you time and effort. You can check out the BAGERLA Leatherworking Supplies Tool Box with 273 pieces, including every tool we mentioned above. It features a leather stamp set complete with all the letters and numbers plus some adorable designs you can add to your leather masterpieces.
- 20 Tape leather stamp and letter-number stamps set
- Leather hole punch and stitching groover
- Leather rivets kit with fixing tools
- Storage box
- 273-piece leatherworking tool kit
- Overall package dimensions: 15.51 inches x 12.4 inches x 5.12 inches
- Includes all leatherworking tools
- Sturdy tools
- The stamp kit features cute patterns
- There’s a list with all the tools’ descriptions inside
- The stitch punch pliers can easily break
- The hammer included doesn’t provide much weight
- No dividers to keep the tools organized
Types of Leather You Can Craft With
The most common leather used for leather crafts is made from cowhides, which are the most versatile and the easiest to work with. This leather has two types: vegetable tanned and chrome tanned leather. The main differences between the two are their tanning processes, which affect the weight and the grade of the leather.
Vegetable Tanned Leather
Vegetable tanned leather is processed with tannin-rich organic materials such as tree barks, leaves, and plant-based oils. This type of tanning results in firmer and sturdier leather, which is often used for luxury wallets, belts, and bags. It also makes up for its long-lasting durability. So, if you want to create detailed leather carvings, vegetable tanned leather is the best material to work with because it doesn’t stretch.
Chrome Tanned Leather
Did you know that around 80% of the leather in the world is chrome tanned? Chrome tanning uses chromium salts and other chemicals, which makes up for a faster and more cost-effective process. It produces flexible and soft leather that is commonly used for many leather crafts. However, one downside of chrome tanned leather is that it’s not the most durable. Despite that, it has a better stain and water resistance compared to vegetable tanned leather.
Differences aside, it is important to keep in mind that the durability of your leather boils down to how you maintain it. Having vegetable tanned leather doesn’t automatically mean it’ll last you for a lifetime. The best way to ensure its endurance over time is through proper leather care.
12 DIY Leather Craft Ideas You Need To Try
If you already have the tools and leather you need, let’s get to crafting! Here are the best DIY leather crafts that you can proudly show off to your friends and family:
1. Leather and Tweed Travel Documents Holder
Travel in style with a personalized leather and tweed document holder! Tweed and leather is a classic combo, and it goes with traditional and modern styles effortlessly. Now, all you need is your choice of leather, tweed material, brass zipper, needle and thread, and round knife. This is one of the easiest leather crafts you can do. You just have to make sure you have all the measurements you want and practice your sewing right.
Spruce up your living room by adding leather accents. A leather cushion pillow will surely brighten up your cozy sofa, and you don’t even have to buy one! You can DIY your leather cushion easily with some leather, a needle, thread, and maybe a sewing machine. This leather craft doesn’t require much leatherworking skill, but the output is as impressive as crocheted pillows.
Are you looking for the perfect gift for your father or your special guy friend? A genuine leather wallet is one of the best options. But, do you know what’s better? A leather wallet you made yourself! Make them feel extra special with a leather craft that is as practical as it is beautiful. All you need is some sturdy leather, sewing materials, a precision knife to make all the pockets in the wallet, and a button to secure it shut. You can customize this any way you want and even add carved artwork to make it more personal.
Include your kids in your leather craft making with these super easy leather hair bows. You can make these cute leather hairpieces in minutes, and you don’t need special tools to make them! Prepare strips of soft leather and just tie them in a ribbon or bow. Add a hairpin at the back, and you are done!
Bring your leather crafts to your home office in the form of a fashion-forward mousepad. If you have scraps of leather sitting around, you can cut them into fun geometric shapes and turn them into a mousepad for easier desk work.
A leather tote bag is another practical and stylish item you can do for a leather craft. Tote bags are one of the most DIY-ed pieces because they are easy to make. What you need to do is just sew the edges of the bag, put some handles on it, and viola! You have yourself a new everyday bag. A leather tote bag is a more chic and durable version of the usual tote bag made of cloth fabrics.
Leather has good water resistance and can be effective coasters, too. You can make customized leather coasters by stamping your name or even a quote onto your leather material. Aside from being practical, leather coasters add a sophisticated touch to your bar or dinner table.
Make your own unique storage options! A leather storage basket is one of the simplest leather crafts you can do as it doesn’t require a lot of steps. All you need is to measure the dimensions you want for your storage basket, cut and sew it securely and maybe add a board at the base to make it sturdier. You can put these everywhere in your house — the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and even use it as craft storage.
If you’re tired of getting your earphones tangled when you want to listen to Nickelback, we have the leather craft for you. Take a tiny piece of lengthwise leather, make sure it’s long enough to wrap around wires and put a button lock on the edges. And that’s it! You now have a leather earphone button organizer that will keep loose cables in order and give a stylish accent to your devices.
To all yogis slash arts and crafts enthusiasts out there, a yoga mat leather strap will offer you the best of both worlds. Easily carry your yoga mat to the studio or park with a unique leather mat strap that you can create yourself. All you need is some durable leather, some rivets and snaps for a secure lock, and your fave needle and thread to make a solid yoga mat strap.
Tassels are a classic design that can elevate and bring personality to a mundane set of keys. They make good gifts, too! So, if you’re looking for Christmas crafts to give out as presents, try your hand at making these leather tassel keychains. Cut long strips on your leather with your scissors or your edge beveler, but don’t cut them off completely. Leave the other edge untouched, so that when you roll them together, it will collate all the strips to make a tassel. You can get different colors of leather to make your tassel keychains more lively and fun.
Leather cuffs have always been fashionable, making them the go-to accessories of many. You can go from punk rock, boho chic, to dapper cool by just replacing a cuff! So, if you’re looking to freshen up your accessory cabinet, create your own leather cuff bracelets and rings! All you need is the leather of your choice, measurements of your wrist and finger, buttons for a lock, and some leatherworking tools. You can engrave a beautiful pattern, add some beads, or even paint it. Let your creativity run wild!
When you have a lot of free time, try doing leather crafts and create something with your hands. There’s something grounding about transforming raw materials like leather into fully-functional pieces that give more meaning to mundane daily life. It might be a simple coaster to some people, but to you, it’s a result of precision, art, and skill that you can’t help but be proud of.
We hope you find these DIY leather crafts useful to level up your skills as a master DIY-er and help you create more things to be proud of. Check out our quick guide on how to clean leather to keep your material and creations in tip-top shape.